Alex has his seventh birthday today and that calls for a big party. At times we have some difficulty with him, but if we look at the big picture we can only conclude that he did very very well the last year. At his school we turned out to be a very good student, even getting selected to be the personal aid for his teacher. At his music classes he turned out just a bit better than the other kids, so that as a reward he was selected to sit in the spotlights all the way up front at the closing concert. At taekwondo Alex got promoted two times within the year. First to white-yellow and a short while later to yellow.
Alex has worked hard and made tremendous improvements this last year. We have a boy that in situations of authority (like with teacher) is a very disciplined boy. In all he has deserved a birthday with a nice stack of presents.
Every day there are ten thousand people that hear something for the first time that seems to be old news for almost everybody else. For me this happened today, and I was one of the 10.000 hearing this spot-on quote for the first time. A simple and elegant truth: “Happy wife = happy life!”.
We have received an official email from Alex and Alans school. In this email the school states they will finally act against the debtors, parents that fail to pay up the tuition of their children. This sounds like a very good step to ensure the financial future of the school, but things are not so simple. Even though we pay everything we need to pay I can still understand that in some situations it might be logical not not pay up without putting up a fight. The context of this email is in this case very important.
Officially the school is free. The government pays all the fees related to the students. The school does have a voluntary contribution of about 50 EUR a month that the parents are required to pay.
The reason for the voluntary required contribution is always explained by summing up various small details, but a real specification has never been presented, and probably will never be presented.
Some parents refuse to pay the voluntary mandatory contribution out of principle.
To force the debtors to pay the voluntary fees the school will take the following measures:
Parents that do not pay will be unable to see their kids results on the school website
Kids will not be allowed to go on field trips
Kids will not be allowed to be dropped of early or collected late
Regarding all extras the school offers the kids of parents that do not pay might be excluded
It seems that the school is targeting the students to force the parents to pay up. I really doubt that this is the correct manner to act in this case and frankly I suspect this email will not result in the end of the debtors.
I’m back in the Netherlands, and this time I’m in Tilburg. Ana and Alex came to visit me for a couple of days and that proved to be the perfect moment for lots and lots of activities. One of the things we did was to go to the Efteling. A fantastic park of which I have very fond memories. I remember going there when I was still a little boy. At the time there was a new attraction called ‘Droomvlucht’, which was inaugurated in 1993, meaning that my last visit was 25 years ago which means there must be quite a lot of new attractions.
Our visit to the Efteling was really great. Alex loved the rides, Symbolica, Droomvlucht, Fata morgana, the Pirana, the boat trip around the lake, the ‘Joris en de draak’-rollercoaster, the ravenstein show, the weird villa volta, holle bolle gijs, the fairy tale forest, longneck, the closing watershow and much much more. In the rollercoaster ride he was sitting next to me shaking and surprised by the massive speed, but he liked it. The pirana was great when in the beginning Ana got wet, but later even better when both Alex and I got thoroughly soaked.
To top it off one plan was not enough for this weekend. We also went on safari at Beekse Bergen, had a nice visit by Bert, Sally and family, Visited the animals at the olie meulen and went canoe-ing. All in all a great visit.
Alex has only recently started and he already got the yellow band. To get yellow he needed to learn a few taek wondo routines and execute them without any mistake during his exams. The exact movements are a mistery to me, so we could not help Alex, and still it all went perfect. *super proud*
Alan is only two years, but he is developing very fast. A big role in his development is of course his big brother Alex who functions as a perfect example for lots of things. Still, there is room for surprises, like the event that happened yesterday. Alan is developing his skills to influence. The great and subtle art of preparing the now with small little details so that a desired future will be more likely. For a two year old a great achievement, in fact even with an older kid I would be impressed.
What Alan had done was the following. He saved one of his candies and placed it secretly on my desk, next to the bed, so I found if right before going to sleep. In the early morning Alan came to check on the candy and when he found it still in its place he even offered to put it in my mouth. I sure wonder what he was hoping to achieve.
The Cola Cola Mentos experiment is quite simple. Throw a couple of mentos in a bottle of Coca Cola and a huge fountain of cola will be the result. At least in theory. To Alex I had to explain that this experiment would be impossible to do inside the house. Everything would be covered in cola. This one needed to be done outside.
The somewhat disappointing result can be seen in the video below.
Sport is not only fun, it is also very healthy. Alex goes to taek wondo twice a week, and these classes are basically running, jumping, doing obstacle courses and every now and then also kicking and hitting an imaginary enemy.
His taek wondo teacher is a nice man who has quite a bit of authority (great for getting all the kids in the class to behave). He knows very well how make all those kids behave and we can really see the discipline in all those kids. Sometimes the teacher gives a compliment, and you can almost see the complimented kid grow a little. Bad behavior results in a punishment of a couple of pushups or sitting on the side for a while without participating in the current game. Simple and effective.
After a little getting used to Alex is going really great. So good that after a couple of month he already had the basic 20 taek wondo moves down, and this is enough for a promotion to the white-yellow band!